Nov. 21, 2008
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Matt Ballweg is no wrestling rookie, but he has waited a long time for his dual match first against Jarrad Trulson of Arizona State on Friday afternoon.
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Earlier in the day, the Waverly, Iowa-native compiled a 3-0 record at the Iowa City Duals with a fall and two technical falls. With no disrespect, those matches were in the Field House, not Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the most revered wrestling venue in the nation.
“It was exciting being out there in front of the fans and wrestling for Iowa,” said Ballweg, a 157-pounder. “It was my first time wrestling in Carver and it was pretty awesome. It felt like a prime time, big dual. It was also nice to get my first match out of the way in here. I was kind of nervous.”
If Ballweg was nervous, the layman would’ve had a difficult time noticing. He defeated Trulson 10-5, giving the Hawkeyes a 21-0 lead en route to a 41-0 shutout of the Sun Devils. Ballweg allowed a late takedown that foiled his plan for a major decision, which didn’t sit well with the redshirt sophomore.
“I wish I could have ended with a major decision,” Ballweg said. “That’s never good. I’m not happy with it, but it’s something to build on.”
Ballweg opened the day by pinning Donnie Bell of Iowa Central in 1:46. He followed that with a 15-0 technical fall over Bryon Grothus of Coe in 3:12. He concluded his Field House experience with a 17-2 technical fall over Darren Olsen of Minnesota State-Mankato in 5:07.
“He comes out hard and I like it,” UI head coach Tom Brands said. “He looks sharp and we expect a lot. He’s looking good.”
The 157-pound varsity position opened for Ballweg when Ryan Morningstar jumped to 165 this season. Last season Ballweg, an academic all-Big Ten selection, was 10-4 against collegiate competition with three major decisions, a technical fall and two falls.
The season starting well for the No. 1-ranked Hawkeyes, who rolled to four victories and a combined dual score of 189-3. Even though the Arizona State match began at 3:30 in the afternoon, more than 4,000 rabid Iowa fans filed into Carver-Hawkeye Arena to catch an early glimpse of the men in black and gold.
The busy day wasn’t too taxing and Ballweg emerged from his first Hawkeye varsity competitions in good spirits.
“It wasn’t too tough of a day,” he said. “You wrestle more matches in a tournament than you do here. I felt really good and now I feel really good afterwards.”
Ballweg and his brother Mark, a first-year 133-pounder, are the 37th set of brothers to wrestler at Iowa. As a junior and senior at Waverly-Shell Rock High School, Ballweg compiled a record of 96-0 with 84 falls and two individual state championships.